Datuk M. Chandran, a highly-revered former Malaysian football player and team captain passed away peacefully on Sept 28 at his house in Ampang Jaya. Aged 77, the ex-national football champion has long battled a neuromotor disease after his stroke in 2006.
During his heyday in the 1970s, Chandran was not only one of Asia's strongest center-backs, but he also turned into coaching after his retirement and led the Selangor football team to win several Malaysian cups.
One of his crowning achievement in his football career was qualifying Malaysia for the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich for the first time ever.
"He gave a good picture of Malaysia football. He will be missed," said Former Asian Football Federation (AFF) Secretary-General Datuk Seri Azzuddin Ahmad in his interview with NST.
“He was the best center-back. It was very hard for any striker to defeat him in Asia. Back then, South Korea was the best team, but we defeated them. Of course, because of his talent,” he added.
According to Chandran's former teammate in Selangor and national team, Datuk Khaidir Buyong, the 70s and 80s were the golden times of Malaysian football with Chandran as their team leader.
“I knew him since the 70s. He is a very talented and dedicated player. We at that time always gave 150 percent. Our standards were different back then. You can choose anyone with closed eyes (to play for the national team). Unlike today," he told The Sun Daily.
Born in Sungai Siput, Chandran began his football career by playing for the Selangor Indian Association. He was then absorbed into the Selangor team and quickly elevated into a strong player. His international performance gained him a spot in the
Besides the feat in Munich Olympics, Chandran also played a huge role in securing the bronze medal in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games.
Recognising his contribution in the field of football, Chandran was bestowed with 'datukship' by the late Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shahin in 2000. He was honoured again by the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah with yet another 'datukship' in 2010.
Chandran was cremated in the Sentul Cremation Ground in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 28. The football legend is survived by his wife Datin A. Pushpalatha and two sons, C Kumarason and C Vicknaraj.